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A look at Firefox beta 1 for Android

With Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android, Mozilla's browser is becoming a more serious contender in the mobile market as well as on personal computers. Here's a look at the software.

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stephenshankland.jpg
Stephen Shankland
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Stephen Shankland
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1 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox beta 1 for Android

Mozilla released Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android on October 7, the organization's first mainstream foray into mobile browsing. The software isn't perfect, but it offers several interesting features to distinguish it from rivals such as Opera Mini, Opera Mobile, and the iOS and Android browsers. As with several newer mobile browsers, it's able to show a full version of the Web in miniature.
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2 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android welcome screen

This is the first thing you'll see when you install Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android: a welcome screen offering options on sync, customization, and browsing.
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3 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox beta 1 for Android new-tab screen

Sliding the browser window to the right reveals the browser tabs you have open. Each one has a small thumbnail image. When switching to a different tab, you have to be careful not to hit the close box.
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4 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox beta 1 for Android tab opening options

When you've used the browser a little, Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android shows a list of previously visited tabs when you launch the program.
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5 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Gmail on Firefox beta 1 for Android

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android was powerful enough to run the full JavaScript-intense desktop version of Gmail, including the priority inbox. However, in this case, the Web application fell back to its more basic HTML interface.
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6 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox beta 1 for Android showing Flickr

Mobile-optimized sites such as Flickr work better with Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android, which at present has difficulties handling wider columns of text.
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7 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android shows Facebook

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android offers to remember your passwords, just like a desktop browser. In this case, it's showing the mobile-optimized version of Facebook.
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8 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android bookmarking

Sliding the browser window to the left reveals the bookmark control, forward and backward arrows, and a control panel icon.
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9 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android crashing

It's beta software, and it's not perfect. This warning message popped up as Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android struggled to load Gmail after eight other pages had been loaded earlier.
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10 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox Sync setup on Android

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android comes with the ability to synchronize passwords, browsing history, tabs, and bookmarks. This is the setup screen.
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11 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android add-ons interface

One of Firefox's selling points compared to other mobile browsers is the ability to extend its behavior through add-ons. This shows the four installed be default, which provide various search options; the search box to find new add-ons; and recommended add-ons toward the bottom.
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12 of 12 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android search options

After clicking the search button to the right of the address bar, Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android presents a list of possible destinations to perform the search.

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